Spinal Cord Injury Attorney in Portland, Oregon
The spinal cord carries information back and forth between the brain and the rest of your body. It runs from the base of the skull to your hips and is surrounded by bones known as vertebrae as a source of protection. Injuries to the spinal cord can be devastating.
An estimated 15,000 people a year in the United States sustain spinal cord injuries. If the damage is severe enough, about 52 percent of those affected become paraplegic – paralyzed in the lower parts of the body -- and 48 percent quadriplegic – paralyzed in all four limbs.
Needless to say, the medical and other expenses, such as long-term care associated with spinal cord injuries, can be extraordinary. Fortunately, modern medical science has been able to relieve some of the suffering and symptoms, but there is no cure to restore a person to normal functioning.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury in or around Portland, Oregon, because of someone else’s negligence or actions, contact me, Attorney Dylan Lawrence, at Injury Lawyer PDX, LLC. I have been helping clients receive compensation due to injuries caused by others for 28-plus years. I will be an aggressive advocate for your rights and will work aggressively toward attaining the just compensation you deserve.
I also proudly serve clients throughout the counties of Clackamas, Washington, Multnomah, Marion, Lincoln, and Tillamook, Oregon.
Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are extraordinary events with differing causes. The primary cause is car accidents, representing 42.1 percent of all spinal cord injuries. This is followed by falls, especially among the elderly whose mobility is impacted and whose bones are more fragile. Fall comes in at 26.7 percent.
Acts of violence, such as gunshot wounds, are the third leading cause at 15.1 percent, and recreational sports activities round out the list at 7.6 percent. Contact sports, running into others, and even jumping and falling are among the leading causes in this category. Medical malpractice can also be a cause.
Depending on the injury to your spine and where it occurs, you can experience a loss of sensation in parts of your body; an inability to move, loss of control your bladder or loss of control your bowels; the inability to control your sexual functions; pain or stinging; and spasms or intense reflex actions.
Possible Long-Term Effects
The higher up the injury occurs on your spine, the worse the damage can be. Any spinal injury can be termed either “complete” or “incomplete.” A complete injury means you can feel nothing below where the injury occurred. An incomplete injury means you can feel some sensation since the spinal cord is still sending some messages to the brain. You might be able to wiggle a toe or feel part of your leg.
There are six levels of spinal cord injuries categorized by where on the spine the injury occurred. The list begins at the top of the spine with higher cervical injuries affecting what is known as the C1 to C4 vertebrae. The results can be catastrophic, leading to quadriplegia, round-the-clock care, the need for breathing assistance, and possible loss of speech and bowel control.
Lower cervical injuries affecting vertebrae C5 to C8 can result in partial or total paralysis in the trunk, hands, wrists, and legs. C5 to C8 control the arms and hands. The patient should be able to speak and breathe without assistance but with difficulty, but will generally lose control of the bowels and bladder.
The next level of injuries occurs in the thoracic spine, located in the center and upper middle of your back. The patient’s arms and hands will normally not be affected, but the trunk and legs will be affected, resulting in paraplegia. There will be little to no control over the bladder.
Lumbar injuries affecting the five bones in the lower back region of your spine usually result in a loss of function in the hips and legs and little to no control over the bowels or bladder. Injuries to the sacral spine, the five bones below the lumbar spine, and above the tailbone, likewise will normally result in a loss of function in the hips and legs and loss of control over the bowels and bladder, but the patient should be able to walk.
Recovering for Your Injuries and Losses
If your spinal cord injury resulted from someone else’s negligence, perhaps in a car accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover not only for economic damages – the costs associated with treatment and care plus loss of income – but also for noneconomic damages for your pain, suffering, and loss of consortium (companionship).
To prevail in this type of lawsuit, you must show that the at-fault party was negligent. Drivers have a duty of care to avoid harming others, and if their actions or inactions breach that duty of care, they are negligent.
It is also sometimes possible that a mechanical problem caused your injuries. For instance, a seatbelt or airbag might have malfunctioned. In that case, you can bring a lawsuit against the designer, manufacturer, or supplier of the defective part.
If your injuries result from falling on a slippery surface in someone’s business establishment, you also can base a lawsuit on negligence. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be a bit more difficult since you must show that someone did something outside the medical standard of care owed to you. This requires expert testimony.
Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Serving Portland, Oregon
Spinal cord injury lawsuits can be more complex and challenging than legal actions for less debilitating injuries. If you’re in the Portland, Oregon, area or nearby, contact me at Injury Lawyer PDX, LLC. I have nearly three decades of experience in handling personal injury cases and will fight aggressively to get the just compensation due you or your injured loved one. Reach out immediately.